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SD PV Preview, Race and Aftermath

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  • SD PV Preview, Race and Aftermath

    San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race 2014: NorCal vs SoCal

    On the eve of the 1,000 nm southern jaunt down Baja California from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta, we take a look at the history of, and the competition, and more specifically, the Nor Cal Boats entered this year and their crews.

    An offshoot of the Acapulco Race, which was 430 nm longer, originally established in 1953 , the Vallarta race is the 4th reduction of the course which was reduced to Manzanillo in 1976 and Mazatlan in 1996. This will be the 7th running to Puerto Vallarta, which has witnessed Magnitude 80 claim the 1st to finish honors 3 times, Pyewacket 70 and turboed Pyewacket 70′ taking line honors twice and Akela and Loe Real winning one apiece. Overall, on corrected time, Blue Blazes and Peligroso have each won twice, with Stark Raving Mad, Grand Illusion and Pyewacket also winning overall honors. Akela has made the best time thus far, galloping down the course in 3Days: 08hr:52:01.

    Can the record be broken in 2014?

    That is yet to be determined, but if there have ever been boats on the course capable of establishing a course record, the two Trimarans, Tom Siebel’s Mod 70 Orion and HL.Enloe’s Orma 60 Mighty Merloe, have the power. Zan Drejes who double handed Mr Enloe’s previous super fast tri Loe Real in 2012 is in awe of the two boat tri race this year.

    Orion channeling mucho energy as she smokes past Alcatraz in the 2013 Big Boat Series

    “Mighty Merloe is the old Groupama ORMA 60 and is just damn fast. She was so fast that she pretty much demolished the ORMA 60 class by herself.” Zan said. “In the Islands Race Last weekend, she was untouchable, we were on her tail the entire race, usually about a mile behind, which is incredible as we were just flying on Orion”. Zan goes on to exude how awesome the Island race is for the Tri’s and what a perfect playground is for big tri sailing, “Flat water and 18 knots of breeze and we are routinely hitting 35 knots.”

    Can Orion or Mighty Merloe set the new standard this year?

    “I don’t know, the forecast is looking light, and if there is any swell, the big multi’s tend to slap around a bit, knocking the wind out of the sails, while the big sleds can power right through.” Zan is joined with Bay Area’s Matt Noble and recent transplant Charlie Ogletree on Orion, along with Peter Isler, Damien Foxall, Max St-Maurice, and Francisco Cabildo Quiroz.

    Meanie heading offshore in 2013

    In Class 1, 6 non sleds will be battling out for class and line honors. Thomas Akin’s RP 52 Meanie will be side by side with sistership, Ricardo Brockman’s Vincitore, a swan song for the boat and crew as new ownership will greet Meanie upon arrival. Jeff Thorpe, Tom Akin, Hogan Beatie, Sam Heck, Tom Powrie, Mo Gutenkunst, Gary Gorden, Dr Joe, Dan Malpas, and James Clappier will be guiding “Meanie” down on her final Bay Area crewed voyage.

    Frank Slootman's "Invisible Hand" in white, she has undergone a massive rehab and is looking
    faster than ever!

    The souped up RP 63 Invisible Hand is also Nor Cal talent with Frank Slootman, Norman Davant, Patrick Whitmarsh, Rufus Sjoberg, Bill Colombo, Bill Erkelens, Jay Crum, Rod Daniels, Jeff Causey, Paul Allen, Dominic Marchal, Ben Allen, Ruben Gabriel leading the charge and representing NorCal. Navigator Patrick “Whitey” Whitmarsh is working his 3rd major ocean race on “The Hand”, and while he isn’t excited about the forecasted light breeze, he’s stoked to be sailing with such a talented crew and a freshly rejuvenated boat.

    “The new light air sails will be a big help this year,” he indicates. As far as strategy at this point, he says, “We may be hunting for breeze,” meaning offshore or inshore are both in play. Sailmaker Bill Colombo from Doyle Pacific was aboard for last year’s Cabo Race and indicates the boat suffered through the light stuff.

    “We have a lot more sail area with the Stratis radial code zero, the masthead genoa G-zero plus a new A-4 spinnaker, we expect to be much more competitive in the tight reaching department. If we stay out of holes, we should be competitive.” Erkelens, the program manager expects their main competition to be Bad Pak, Tom Holthus’s well appointed STP 65 which has fared well in offshore events in recent years. Peligroso, Lorenzo Berho’s Kernan 70 and Destroyer, the TP52 owned by Eduardo Saen round out Class 1 .

    The Westcoast 70′s, formerly “The Sleds”, is loaded with downhill talent who have previously raced to Mexico with Pyewacket the favorite. Roy Disney continues to hold the family mantel high, whether Transpac or Mexican races the Magical Cat lives for success. Rock Star heavy Holua, Brack Duker’s SC 70 has David Ullman, Peter Holmberg, Doug McLean and Erik Shampain on board this trip south, and can be expected to be in the running for class honors.

    Lindy Thomas’s Andrew 70, Condor, the SC 70′s Grand Illusion (James McDowell), Maverick (Chris Slaggerman), and Mirage (John Delaura) fill out a very competitive field that is heavy in talent but light on NorCal sailors.

    Friday’s starters in Class 3 has two SC 50′s representing the Bay Area. Hula Girl, Paul Cayard’s 1 campaign family ride to Hawaii which was purchased by J-World is led by Wayne Zittel, Barry Demak and Kevin Sullivan and a supporting cast of pay-to-play sailors who get the chance to experience real world ocean racing without committing to a campaign for a lengthy time.

    J/Worlds Hula Girl at start of 2012 Pac Cup

    Said J/World’s Barry Demak, “J/World’s Hula Girl is a different program than most since we have six clients aboard, most of whom have limited experience sailing offshore let alone racing and handling a “big boat” like Hula Girl. Still, they are motivated and vested in the opportunity to compete against seasoned crews. What the team lacks in experience racing together, we make up for with positive attitude, work ethic,
    determination and enthusiasm! A challenge for our coaches is to nurture the development of the team as quickly as possible! We can’t afford to give miles away by taking our foot off the pedal or not pushing the boat to its potential. We’ve got friends,alumni and a J/World coach aboard Deception so we’re certainly keen to finish ahead of them and keep our time! Their core team have at least 4 long races under their belt together, and countless other coastal and buoy races – on that boat. We need to get our guys to their level within a day or two of the start. If we can do that and make decent routing decisions, we expect to be drinking margaritas before them! We’re in it to win it – and that means sailing our boat the best that we can, and not just focusing on Deception.”

    Deception heads out the Gate at start of the 2013 Spinnaker Cup

    Hula Girl’s counterpart Deception, William Helvestine’s SC 50 will sail with the crew Mike Arraj, Sue Alexander, Steven Meyers, Charles Stuart, Jasper Van Vliet, Shana Bagley and Mark Howe. Deception competes on an intensive level on SF Bay buoy races, and offshore has expanded into the longer ocean races with the addition of Mark Howe and Shana Bagley adding additional ocean racing experience. We expect to see their results get better and better as time progresses. The J-125 Hamachi from Seattle have to be class favorites, with Fritz Lanzinger, Jonathan Mckee and Trevor Baylis onboard, you can expect a tightly run program with little drama. Bretwalda III, Bob Pethick’s Rogers 46, was 1st in the 2013 Cabo race and 2nd in class in the 2013 Transpac. Bill McClure’s Allure rounds out the division.

    The final representative from Norcal is Sebastien de Halleux’s Swan 45 Swazik crewed by Seadon Wijsen, Stu Bannatyne, Dave Rolfe, Andy McCormick, Alexis van de Wyer, Graham Anand and Mike Rohde. The GGYC representative was 1st overall and 1st in division in the 2012 Pac Cup and hope to repeat that success this year. Standing in their way are the well-traveled vintage Westward, owned and magnificently maintained by the Bell Family, Dean Fargo and John Chamberlain’s Swan 651 Second Wind, and Kjeld Hestehave’s Velos.

    The fun starts this Friday with Div 4 warning at 11:55, Div 3 at 12:55. The big boys start on Saturday,
    Division 2 at 11:55, Divison 1 at 12:15 and the multis at 12:35.
    Last edited by Photoboy; 04-04-2014, 11:18 AM.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2

    Meanie recently splashed after a major delam repair and haul out.

    The view from the top in San Diego!

    Images © James Clappier
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      Which two sleds are we looking at?


      • #4

        Some Deception love from 2011 at link above

        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          Very nice revamp!


          • #6
            Is there enough breeze for a new record?

            Anyone got gribs?


            • #7
              I got gribs.

              $5.00 each.

              How many you need?


              • #8
                Nice write up. Envious of anyone heading south offshore.


                • #9

                  Tracker is now tracking... 4 hour delay shiznit...

                  Forecast from the troops: Light then getting lighter...7-9 knots today.

                  Tomorrow could be interesting IF* the high pressure builds in quickly enough there could be some fairly peppy offshore pressure. Will have to see if that actually happens…
                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                  • #10
                    The ORR Divisions 3 and 4 display for 0400 shows Velos in the lead of ORR 4 having sailed 164 nm thus far,
                    with 868 nm to go with an average vmg of 9.3.

                    Hamachi leads OOR 3 having sailed 162 nm with 873 yet to go and an average vmg of 9.2

                    The entire fleet is head well offshore of the rhumline in anticipation of the building high pressure...



                    1st onboard report visa Swazik

                    First day

                    First night of the race and time to update you on our progress. We started the race in the San Diego Channel, always fun with warships, aircraft carriers and submarines all around. We had a light breeze for our start, made a swift exit and headed for the Coronado islands. We soon crossed the Mexican border, marked by a white pile on shore. Although we carefully steered to avoid the ever abundant kelp, we ended up kelped up pretty badly just off the islands and were glad to have our scope at end to check on the situation below: kelp on the keel, kelp on the saildrive, kelp on the rudder. A few expert kelp stick flosses later, we were all clean and back on our target speed. Lifting up the floorboards to use the scope, we noticed more water in the bilges that was normal (we are usually a pretty dry boat). Turned out to be a loose collar on the exhaust flexpipe and that was quickly remedied, bilges dried up and continuing to race hard. We are currently making good headway, roughly 150 miles from San Diego, surrounded by hyperactive dolphins and from time to time a couple of whales.

                    In order to appeal to the clemency of the wind gods, the San Diego YC has placed effigies of wild coyotes facing the soon to depart fleet. The wind forecast over the next week is relatively light, starting with a good breeze which will eventually die down and be replaced by a mixture of fickle sea breezes and eddies bouncing around the Baja peninsula. This will certainly make for an interesting race with lots of potential for good (or not so good) strategic decisions in search of good pressure, like scavenging wild sea coyotes…
                    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                    • #11
                      Sunday 0600 Position Updates

                      Orion and Mighty Merloe have found breeze and have caught up with Fridays starters!
                      Tracker shows Orion hitting 25 knots and headed offshore, MM at 17.3 following the rhumbline. Both boats have shadowed one another for the1st 300 miles

                      ORR1 has Invisible Hand sprinting out ahead of the pack and the most offshore,
                      doing 12 knots, evidently the new headsails are working well. The majority of the fleet
                      has stayed further inshore and are suffering some lighter air blues at moment.

                      (Sorry about the current leaderboard chart which has cross populated with ORR 4)

                      ORR2 has seen Holua ritire with prop issues. Its a dead heat between the other 5 sleds,
                      all of which have averaged 9.5to 9.9 knots vmg as a group.

                      Hamachi continues to impress in ORR 3 and holds on to 2nd in fleet over all and division
                      behind Bretwalda, the self described "Bunch of slackers from the Midwest" who are on a 2 year "Great Races of the West Coast tour."

                      Shauna Bagley forwards a couple texts from aboard Deception:

                      "Weather is warming up. Bright starry skies. Mild swell in the proper direction. No reported boat butt. Boat smell factor low! Smile factor high.

                      Making the wind zone count while we can. Helming D downwind is so much fun, it's practically illegal. Dolphins albatross, mola mola, 2 much kelp." - Bagley

                      and Hula Girl sends the following:
                      As an offshore sailor and racer, I often get asked, "What is the passage to Hawaii like?" and "How is the sailing in the Cabo Race?" and so on. When answering, I think for a moment, then begin to paint a picture of a typical trip, but it is always with a bit of reticence since passages are pretty much NEVER typical. There is almost always a good amount of variability, a reasonable significant deviation from the 'norm' which makes a trip atypical. So far, however, the 2014 San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race has been pretty much textbook.

                      We started on Friday in a nice westerly, close reaching past Point Loma and into the Pacific. Before we had gotten to the Coronados we were in the Code 0, then shortly thereafter the first spinnaker came up. We carried the 2A into the night, and wow, what a night. Steady 12-14 knots kept the J World Team aboard Hula Girl moving conformably along, and a nearly full moon lit of the slightly cloudy sky. I really thought it would be a tough day to beat. But I have to say, I think that today might have unseated the previous champion.

                      As we have worked south, the sky was clearer, the water bluer. The winds have picked up a bit, now in the 15-17 knot range. And tonight, a full moon rose into a cloudless sky just as the sun finished it's daily chores. We are scooting along at about 10 knots with the spinnaker and staysail lit up, and the reflection of the moon playing across the water off our port side like a school of a million incandescent fish. The dolphin playing alongside , jumping to catch glimpses of the Hula Girl were just icing on the cake.

                      Everyone aboard Team Hula Girl is doing a great job.... we are having a blast and settling into shipboard life nicely. We expect the weather to be throwing some challenges our way, but we'll be ready for them.

                      That's it for now. More soon!

                      Wayne ZIttel and the J World Team

                      Swazik currently holds the advantage in ORR 4 of 2nd place Second Wind and is currently in 4th overall.

                      More boat reports to follow!

                      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

             Photo Gallery


                      • #12
                        Orion & Mighty Merloe Reach 1/2 Mark

                        With just 24 hours of sailing under their belts, the Mod 70' Orion and the Orma 60' Mighty Merloe have assumed the lead position in the 2014 Vallarta Race, with VMG's of 19.8 and 19.respectively, the two uber fast multihulls have each passed the 1/2way mark approximately at noon today.

                        In fresh breeze, Orion was most recently clocked at 28.8 knots with 535 nm to finish and Mighty Merloe doing 26.4 knots with 541 nm to finish.


                        Orion at the start (top) and Mighty Merloe (below)
                        images © Bob Betancourt

                        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

               Photo Gallery


                        • #13
                          From Deception

                          What happens when you have packed and repacked your kit 5 times? Your idle
                          hands get stuck with writing the boat blog.

                          Essential Deets (Details): Boat Smell: 0 , Potential Source: N/A, Smile
                          Factor 9 (it would be a 10 if we were offshore), Boat Butt Factor (BBF): 0
                          (our last day of dryness), Creatures: porpoise, seagulls, pesky bulb kelp.

                          This was our last day to finish all essential boat preparations. After a
                          glitch with our (oh so shiny) mainsail, we went out for a practice sail.
                          Sunny San Diego is heating up, so we hope the wind machine keeps on working
                          in order to make it to Puerto Vallarta in a reasonable amount of time. We
                          are a tight knit bunch and are looking forward to spending some quality time
                          together surfing down waves in warmer waters.

                          !Vamanos Deceptionsistas Vamanos!
                          Day 1 was a day of "lasts" and a day of "firsts": last meal, last clean clothes, last full night's sleep, last beer and then first gybe, first boat meal (which actually came from land), first attempt at staying upright in the head, first on watch (and helming!), first offwatch (which, for me, was my first good sleep - since the last time I was offshore).

                          Who knows how we sleep through the sounds down below. Everything sounds louder than it is and there are so many sources of noise that you don't even notice anyone else (or yourself) snoring. The water rushing by the hull sounds like you are inside a waterfall. Any evolution brings a herd of elephants across the deck. The winches (constantly trimmed) are right above our heads. Th e humming rudder actually sounds like jet skis. Thankfully, a few nights ago, all of the change already fell out of Stevie's pockets into the bilge, so it no longer sounds like Las Vegas.

                          We are fueled by our friendship, our love of the sea, and, of course, Sue's cookies. The winds have been steady enough but shifty. We realize that we are one of the few amateur crews in this race, so we are in constant active trim mode. Occasionally, we see a competitor or a cruise ship, but the liquid landscape vast and unending. At night, we have plenty of moonlight to keep the spinnaker in check and the stars and Pacific White Sided Dolphins keep us company. There is way too much kelp out here. Spirits are high and we are just keepin' on keepin' on.

                          Creatures: Giant Sunfish, medium sized Albatross, loads of dolphins, seabird resting on a giant kelp bed (think: Life of Pi)
                          Smell Factor: 1 (it is starting!)
                          Potential Source: sea boots, what else?
                          Smile Factor: still at 9 as we are acclimatizing to watches, but expected to increase as boat speed stays in double digits

                          Peace Out, Bagley
                          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                          • #14
                            Monday 0500 Update

                            Monday 0500 positions show Mighty Merloe and Orion now off Cabo, with Peter Isler
                            navigated Orion having stayed offshore overnight and now just 269 nm left to Puerto Vallarta. Mighty Merloe gambled on hugging the shoreline and appears to have suffered
                            a setback and is now 10nm back, although lates pings show them with a current 2.5 knot
                            speed advantage.

                            Frank Slootman's Invisible Hand has sailed smart race and have moved into 1st place in ORR1, 3rd overall with the estimated corrected numbers around 2 hours and 12 minutes ahead of second place Vincitore in ORR1. he Hand was riding the rumblin and reaching at 13.5 knots as of 0500

                            Grand Illusion leads ORR 2 statistically over 2nd place Pyewacket, but they are neck and neck, each with 653 nm to finish

                            ORR 3 is still lead by the J-215 Hamachi on corrected over Bretwalda 3. Hamachi is
                            430 nm to the finish, 25 nm behind the Roger 46, the boats are 1st and 2nd in class and overall on corrected as of the 0500 update

                            Swazik continues to lead ORR 4, with 471 nm to finish, a 49 minute corrected lead guestimate over Velos. Swazik and Velos currently sit in 4th and 5th overall, respectively
                            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                            • #15
                              Westwards Updates

                              The first update from the boat!

                              I spoke with the crew at the send off party and they sound like they're ready for a fun race. Also sounds like they had a great start!


                              Currently heading 165 degrees South in sunny skies and in steady 10-12 knots probably averaging 7 knots. Sailing on a reach with our new 3/4 oz spin out, new staysail spin and the pole just off the headstay about 12 miles off the Mexican coast. We had an amazing start at the boat end and hit the line right when the gun went off. We started with our main, staysail, and light genoa with Ron and Graham on bow, Steve, Tracy, Ric and Willie in the cockpit and Sam at the wheel. After passing Point Loma we put up the 2.2oz spin so we could point at the Coronado islands. Bypassing the leward of the furthest North island and leaving the the 2 other island south. A beauitful day and a great start to the race. The forecasts are for a slower race, so let's hope that the wind doesn't shutoff at night. We have made the decision to stay out away from the coastline at night. Tomorrow's position report will bring the decision to light.



                              March 14


                              Buenos tardes, Westward fans!

                              I just got the following email from Westward. Not the people aboard Westward, the actual boat. Seems she misses Mara and me, but is having a fun race nonetheless. If you've got Yellowbrick, they're light blue!


                              It's Westward, I miss you. These boys are rough around the edges and fouls mouths to boot. Perhaps we can use a bit more femininity aboard next time. To their credit though, that Willie Bell, keeps a clean ship. I am pretty sure he spends most of his time on projects taking care of my needs, if you know what I mean. The others are great too though. Seems we have formed into two tribes; ABYC Lido Fleet 6- Sam, Ron, Tracy and Team LAYC - Steve, Ric, Willie and Graham. Currently, we have LAYC on deck in clear sunny skies. 12 knots of breeze blowing from about 315 degrees and hopefully building. I am moving along at a steady 7.5 knots and moving deeper into Mexican waters. Our new 1/2 oz spin, which we put a hole in on it's first hoist, is up along with our new staysail spin as well. Graham tells me the weather reports are not encouraging for the next 24 hours but as usual remains optimistic about going straight down the course.

                              Last night was a beautiful clear night with passing low level clouds that brought fresh dew to the decks. The wind, surprisingly, was steady throughout the night and helped us average about 7.5 knots. The moon was almost full and cast a bright twinkle on the waves until it at last went over the horizon. We also had dolphins jumping in our bow wake and the slowest dolphin in the school ran into the hull. The only major challenge the night brought me was that we added a bow sprit. Thank god we have extra 2x4s laying around. Other boats do to, right? I know I am old but do we really need new wood on board? Anyway, I digress. My modified pulpit was still catching the spin foot in light air. The boys lashed the 2x4 to the headstay at a downward angle so hopefully no more rips or repairs.

                              Seems some questions and the subsequent discussions go on in perpetuity, what is the cosine of 5 degrees, do we drive to VMG, how do we reset the GPS, should we be using True or Apparent, what do the polars say, how come Willie seems so busy all the time, am I the most beautiful boat in the race?

                              The ocean and also being away from things was supposed to simplify life, but I think it drives these guys into deeper complexity about simpler things. Net, net it's the same. Maybe that is the point.


                              N 29 26.2
                              W 117 01.3

                              March 15


                              Hello Westward fans!

                              An update from the crew:

                              N 27 18
                              W 115 38
                              Wind 15-18 knots NNW
                              Sea 3'-5'
                              1020 mbs

                              Another pleasant race day heading down the Mexican border. Our race plan at this point is stay away from any landmass and work our way back to rumbline. The last 6 hour shift we were able to get about 46 miles down the coast. Averaging 7.7 knots, much better than anticipated. The grib files and the pre weather briefing are different than the conditions we are seeing on the water.

                              Had another beautiful night sailing under the full moon. Only problem was the hour long discussion on to jibe or not to jibe. It was thus decreed that jibing was the appropriate action. At the shift change, we jibed the 1/2oz spin and were on port pole heading about 110 degrees. The wind is clocking around heading us down. Works for us, as our heading to the next waypoint is about 125 degrees which is about 30 miles off of Cabo. 394 more miles til we get there and hopefully that means we round Baja in a little over 2 days. Keep your fingers crossed as a quicker crossing means more margaritas and tequila.

                              In other big news, we ate fruit today. Unrecognized by most on board they were charmed with taste of this exotic fruit, the orange. Perhaps next we will work vegetables into dinner.

                              We are currently in 2nd in fleet and 11 overall. Thanks to Yellowbrick most of you probably know more about our position and standing than us! Everyone is in great spirits and focused on 3 things; sleep, food and surfing this 31,000 lbs beauty.


                              March 16
                              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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